10 Songs, 42 Minutes


About Sheila and the Insects

The Philippines' Sheila and the Insects are committed to smashing preconceived notions. First of all, there's nobody named Sheila in the band; secondly, although the group is lumped in with the alternative-rock scene in Manila, they're actually from Cebu; thirdly, they mainly sing in English; and lastly, despite their basic rock & roll instrumentation, they're actually rooted in the arty '80s New Wave of the Railway Children, the Church, and the Wild Swans. With their shimmering guitars, hummable melodies, and husky vocals, Sheila and the Insects are viewed as New Wave revivalists; while there is validity in that claim, the combo also pays homage to '90s alternative rock by cranking up the amps. Before forming Sheila and the Insects, Ian Zafra (lead guitar, backup vocals) was a member of an alternative-rock group called the End in the early '90s. The End was one of Cebu's most promising young acts, however, it was crippled by a series of departing musicians. In 1995, Orven Enoveso was hired (vocals, guitar, harmonica) to be their new vocalist. The End played gigs with Enoveso, but just when the band was beginning to receive media attention again, two of its members quit, leaving Zafra and Enoveso. In 1996, the End became Sheila and the Insects with new members Anthony Aseniero (bass) and Blair Kabahar (drums, percussion). Aseniero was eventually replaced by Benjie Fernandez (bass guitar, backup vocals) when the group migrated to Manila in 1999. Sheila and the Insects sold 300 copies of their first album, Tangible Rhymes, on cassette themselves when record companies expressed indifference. In 2000, the band released its second album, Plastic Eyes, Static Minds, on N/A Records in the Philippines, landing a radio hit with the single "Everyday Drive." ~ Michael Sutton